All set for Sunday's by-elections in 21 constituencies

All set for Sunday's by-elections in 21 constituencies
Source: File Photo

Islamabad (Web Desk/Agencies): The by-elections on five National and 16 provincial Assembly seats across Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan, will be held on Sunday, with strict security measures to o prevent any untoward incident.

According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), polling will proceed without interruption from 8am to 5pm for seats vacated by candidates who won multiple seats or where polling was delayed in February 8 general elections due to the death of a candidate.

The polling will be conducted for 21 constituencies including five National Assembly seats, 12 Punjab Assembly seats, two Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly seats, and two Balochistan Assembly seats.

The ECP stated that the re-polling in PB 50 Kalla Abdullah would also be held on Sunday.

The polling for NA-8 Bajaur and PK-22 Bajaur was delayed on February 8 following the assassination of a candidate, Rehan Zeb Khan.

Polling will take place in NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan, where the National Assembly seat was relinquished by Ali Amin Gandapur, who opted to retain his provincial assembly seat in order to assume the role of KP’s chief minister.

Similarly, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif vacated her NA-119 seat in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, choosing instead to keep the PP-159 constituency that she also won.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif won elections on two provincial and national assembly seats. He left the NA-132 Kasur and Lahore’s PP-158 and PP-164 seats vacant, preferring to retain the NA-123 Lahore constituency.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari won two National Assembly seats. He retained the NA-194 Larkana constituency, vacating the NA-196 seat in Qamber Shahdadkot vacant.

The ECP provided 6.23 million ballot papers to the relevant Returning Officers (ROs) for the upcoming by-elections in 21 constituencies.

Approximately 2.55 million Pakistanis are expected to participate in voting for the five National Assembly constituencies, while around 3.61 million individuals will cast their votes for 16 provincial assembly seats nationwide.

A total of 174 candidates are contesting in the by-elections for 12 provincial constituencies in Punjab, where the voter count stands at approximately 4.04 million.

As per the ECP, the by-elections for two provincial constituencies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have a total of 1.47 million voters.

There are 49 candidates in the race, and 892 polling stations have been set up, with 139 identified as sensitive.

In NA-196 in Sindh, two candidates will compete, with 423,781 voters eligible to cast their ballots across 303 polling stations, 158 of which are sensitive, according to the ECP.

The ECP has announced that by-elections will take place for two provincial constituencies, PB-20 and PB-22, in Balochistan.

A total of 396,246 voters in the province will participate, with 354 polling stations designated for the process.

Nine candidates, including Ali Pervaiz and Shehzad Farooq, are vying for the National Assembly seat NA-119, while 11 candidates, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Malik Riaz and independent Muhammad Khan Madani, are competing in PP-147.

Additionally, 14 candidates, including Muhammad Shoaib Siddiqui and Qaiser Shehzad from the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), are contesting in PP-149.

In PP-158, there are 22 candidates, with Chaudhry Nawaz and Moonis Elahi of the SIC among them.

Furthermore, PP-164 has 20 candidates in the fray, with PML-N leader Rashid Minhas and Muhammad Yusuf of the SIC among the contenders.

The federal government has authorised the deployment of civil armed forces and the Pakistan Army for the provision of general security to assist the ECP in the peaceful conduct of the April 21 by-elections, it emerged on Saturday.

Earlier, the Punjab government requested the interior ministry to suspend mobile internet services in the province's 13 districts and tehsils on April 21 (tomorrow) owing to the by-polls.

The request has been made to maintain law and order situation in the province and avoid any untoward incident.

In a letter to the interior ministry, the provincial home department requested the suspension.

The request for the suspension of mobile internet services has been made for Lahore, Sheikhupura, Kasur, Sadiqabad, Kot Chutta, and Dera Ghazi Khan districts.

The provincial government further requested in the letter that the tehsils where suspension is requested include Talagang, Chakwal, Kallar Kahar, Gujrat, Ali Pur Chatha, Zafarwal and Bhakkar.